The Sales & Distribution Summit focuses on how documentaries get sold and then seen by audiences worldwide. Come to clue-up at the panels and case studies and then connect with international industry representatives at the networking sessions in the afternoon.

This is an overview of the Sales & Distribution Summit from 2018. More information about next year's Summit will be announced in due time.

In order to attend the Sales & Distribution Summit, you need to purchase a Festival Pass. You can purchase a Lightning Pass for Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 here.

Sales and Distribution 101 | 11:00 - 12:00

What’s a sales agent? What’s a distributor? How do I get my film sold and seen by audiences worldwide? If you’re new to documentary filmmaking and want to know more about the incredibly important stages of sales and distribution this session is for you. Doc/Fest’s Marketplace & Talent team will bring you up to speed with the current, need-to-know aspects of working with industry partners in a ‘no assumed knowledge’ and ‘no questions are silly’ spirit. 


Distribution Case Study: Unrest | 12:00 - 13:00

In this session, producer Lindsey Dryden will discuss in detail the creative distribution strategy for Unrest which was pitched in the MeetMarket in 2016, followed by a World Premiere at Sundance and UK premiere at Doc/Fest in 2017 where it won the Illuminate Award. The film has since screened at numerous international festivals, been released theatrically in the USA and UK, sold to PBS and Netflix and performed well in the home entertainment market via DVD and iTunes.

Distribution For VR | 13:00 - 14:00 

For the past few years, virtual reality (VR) has been heralded as the “future of filmmaking” by the digital vanguard. While the medium has become a staple at forward-thinking film festivals, wider distribution for VR remains nascent. This session will explore the challenges and opportunities that VR faces in terms of reaching wider audiences.


Meet the Sales Agents | 15:00 - 16:00 

International sales agents can help a film find distribution partners in markets worldwide, often inputting into marketing and festival strategy. In this session, executives from a range of international sales companies will introduce themselves, explain their approach to acquisitions – what they’re looking for – and share examples of films they have recently worked on. Following the presentations, there will be time for filmmakers to connect with sales agents and exchange business cards.


Meet the Distributors | 16:00 - 17:00 

A chance to find out more about how distributors handle a film’s delivery to the audience by managing and marketing its journey through the various exhibition platforms. In this session, we invite executives from different distribution companies to introduce themselves, explain how they work with filmmakers and comment on the kinds of documentaries they are seeking with reference to recent examples. Following the presentations, there will be time for filmmakers to connect with distributors and exchange business cards.

Marketplace Drinks | 17:00 - 19:00  

Rounding off the Sales & Distribution Summit and kicking off a new week of industry activity, Marketplace Drinks offers an opportunity to get to know Decision Makers and fellow filmmakers better. The event welcomes everyone involved in Sales & Distribution Summit, MeetMarket, Alternate Realities Market, Doc/Player and all Marketplace initiatives. The Marketplace & Talent team will be present so do come by for a drink, say hello and tell us about your documentary projects – we’re here to help get them made!


If you have any queries about our Sales & Distribution Summit, please contact the marketplace team at